Heart and Soul Productions brought Indian poet Gulzar to Australian shores in January. What resulted was a night that warmed the heart and touched the soul
Heart and Soul Productions redefined entertainment with ‘Guftagu with Gulzar Saab’. Finally, Sydney Siders got to experience something classy, educational, and more than just the run of the mill Bollywood glamour on stage. The thinking Indian populace of Sydney, who were hungry for meaningful entertainment that would stimulate their thinking and give them an impetus to discern and enjoy, got to a taste of just that. Kudos to Arun Nanda and Rushi Dave for taking the bold step of bringing the legendary Gulzar to Australian shores. The Guftagu was ably curated by the talented Salim Arif, one of the most exciting and popular directors on the Hindi theatre scene.
Gulzar needs no introduction to most Indians. He has carved a niche for himself in the field of poetry and has ruled the hearts and minds of millions of poetry lovers for years. When a person hears Gulzar compositions, he does not have ask any questions. The lyrics and the style are self-explanatory—one knows immediately who the creator is! Few writers have achieved what Gulzar has. He is the man who weaves magic with his words and has been doing that for over five decades with élan, style and a delicate intricacy that has become synonymous with his name.
His lyrics give voice to so many unheard feelings and touch upon so many facets of our lives. From his first lyrics for the movie Bandhini (1963) to his lyrics in Mirzya (2016), Gulzar has wooed the feelings and stroked the core of all music lovers. His poetry is soul touching, soul searching and at times soul searing too. No one uses words the way he does, and on 27 January, the audience at the Sir John Clancy auditorium got to experience this first hand as the bard himself recited a few of his unpublished and unsung verses! He cajoled the audience with his poetic renditions and slowly carried them to the very edge of ecstasy. It was indeed a surreal experience for all present for he is undoubtedly, the master of words. Gulzar’s play of words as he weaves magic with them is mesmerising; for he does not pen words… he pens emotions.
The evening of the Guftagu began with the melodious presentation of a selection of Gulzar’s work—including the best of Gulzar and Jagjit Singh. Two very well-known singers of Sydney, Avijit Sarkar and Srijani Dan, set the mood and tone. Accompanying them on stage was Debz Guha on the keyboard, Vir Chand, the lead guitarist, Abhijit Dan on the tabla and special effects were by Sanjiv Raja. In conjunction with this mega event, Heart and Soul Productions also launched the first ever MusicFare Awards in association with Natraj Academy under the tutelage for the exceptionally talented Avijit Sarkar. The competition included talented singers from Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. After stringent screening, ten finalists were short listed, and the winners were announced in Gulzar saab’s presence. While Vikas Kolar took home the winning trophy, the first and second runners-up were Ami Surti and Heena Oberoi respectively. They are extremely lucky and blessed to have received the award from Gulzar saab.
The humility of the man, the poet Gulzar and his connection with his audience is amazing. It is often a misnomer that geniuses are social recluses. Gulzar is anything but that. His sharpness, his wit and his patience with his admirers is commendable. Every word he spoke and every explanation he gave had a depth of meaning that was simple and coherent. Speaking about the nuances of writing, Gulzar said that similes and metaphors are not to be sought from the outside to embellish a piece of writing, instead they must emanate from within the piece. When asked how he keeps his writing so relevant and in with the times, Gulzar said that he always wrote his lyrics in tune with the script of the story and the character in play. He made it sound so simple!
The people who were fortunate enough to see Gulzar, hear him and interact with him, will realise that their lives have been enriched at so many levels. Well done, Heart and Soul Productions! Having set quite a benchmark with this show, I am sure Heart and Soul Productions will be endeavouring to bring to Australian shores more shows of such calibre in the future.